John Lewis sales soared 18.2% excluding VAT in the week to 25 June, with the start of its Clearance sale driving a strong week.

Trade was 14% higher than in the first four days of Clearance last year. Over the week as a whole, and on a VAT-inclusive basis, fashion was up 22%, home was up 20.5% and electricals and home technology was up 17.6%.

All stores open more than a year showed sales growth with most up in double-digits. Cardiff, Peterborough and Leicester led the way all showing increases of over 20%. Online sales were up 45.8% on the same week last year, with click and collect volumes doubling and online fashion sales jumping 80%.

Sister supermarket Waitrose’s sales growth was less eye-catching, with total sales up 8%.Gluten-free food, championed by tennis ace Novak Djokovic, showed strong growth, and the week’s Delia Smith recipe - strawberry and vanilla pavlova - was Waitrose’s best-selling ever.